Belgium’s biofuels & cogen plants:

Cows are the answer

Aidan Turnbull reports on a recent visit to Electrawinds Biomass Mouscron, one of Belgium’s most advanced cogeneration plants based on biofuels. such as biomass and solar energy.

It’s incredible to think that tallow from rendered-down dead cows could be one of the major sustainable fuel sources behind 18MW of ‘green energy’ being produced by the Mouscron co-gen facility.
In terms of energy that’s enough to supply the needs of 44,000 families and still produce enough recoverable ‘waste’ heat to sell to industry facilities in the vicinity – and warm up local swimming pools too.
The other significant fact about the project, say the operators, is the
remarkable reliability and low wear rates the engines at Mouscron have achieved since their installation in 2006.
When the plant was first commissioned the concept of running engines on biofuel was pretty much uncharted territory.
But with their broad insensitivity to fuel quality, Mouscron’s large medium speed diesel engines, designed for heavy fuel oils, seem to cope readily with carbondioxide neutral fuels such as plant oils,
animal fats and various blends of wasteoils.
Typically, these are fuels which can cause considerable problems in high-speed engines with their more sensitive injection systems. But thanks to large mediumspeed diesel engines made by MAN Diesel,
they have effectively become part of the global warming solution.
The technology Electrawinds nv, headquartered in Ostend, Belgium, is currently the largest private player on the Belgian market for
renewable energy. Initially a provider of ‘green’ electricity, it began establishing wind energy projects, but soon began toinvest in other forms of renewable energ.

Its business strategy of combining wind, biomass and solar energy is unique in Belgium. Electrawinds now operates inItaly, France and Eastern-Europe. The story really begins In August 2005 when Electrawinds set up its first 13MW biofuel-based energy-generating plant in Ostend.
A template for later projects, the role of this facility was to convert animal and vegetable fats into sustainable energy.
Today, the Ostend plant has a capacity of Mouscron’s large medium speed
diesel engines, designed for heavy fuel oils, seem to cope readily
with carbon-dioxide neutral fuels such plant

Sourced and published by Henry Sapiecha 18th July 2009


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